They’re a favorite of Bugs Bunny and the Easter Bunny alike. They are rumored to be beneficial to eyesight. They are one of the vegetables of spring.
I’m talking, of course, about the crunchy carrot.
Carrots are often seen as a raw snack. We peel and slice them and serve them with some ranch dressing for dipping. But the root vegetables are so much more versatile than that.
Whether you like them raw, cooked or caramelized, I’ve got a recipe for you to try. They’re chock full of beta-carotene, which gives them their orange hue, and full of fiber.
Pick up some carrots at the La Jolla Open Aire Market and try something new with them. Need an extra tip? If they get rubbery in your fridge, just stick them in a bucket of ice water. They’ll perk back up and regain the crunch we all love so much.
Wendy McGuire, of serves up a delicious Moroccan carrot dish and she uses vegetables from the farmers market. The ingredient that really makes the dish is harissa, a type of hot chili paste from North Africa.
- 1 ¼ lb. fresh carrots
- 5 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 or 4 cloves garlic, partially crushed
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tbps. chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp. harissa
- ¾ tsp. cumin
- ¾ tsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. salt, or to taste
- ¼ cup feta
- Peel and slice the carrots as thick or as thin as you like.
- Place the carrots in a pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Cook the carrots until they're tender but still firm enough to hold their shape.
- Drain, and immediately cover the carrots with cold water or dump into a prepared iced bath. This stops the cooking process and will help the carrots keep their bright orange color.
- Drain again.
- In a medium pot or skillet, gently sauté garlic cloves in the olive oil for two or three minutes over low heat. Discard garlic and add harissa, lemon juice, parsley and spices. Stir to mix.
- Add the carrots to the marinade and stir gently to mix. Sauté over low heat for another two minutes, and remove from the heat.
- Serve the spicy marinated carrots either warm or chilled and top with the feta cheese.
Sauteed carrots with ginger, orange and scallions
Browning carrots will make them tender and intensify their flavor. This dish combines the caramelized carrot with the bright flavor of citrus. Polito Family Farms has fresh orange juice for sale you can use in this dish from Fine Cooking.
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- 4 tsp. mild honey, such as clover
- 4 tsp. lower-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 2 Tbsp. butter, chilled
- 4 tsp. EVOO
- 2 lb. medium carrots, cut into 2-inch-long, ¼-inch-thick sticks
- Kosher salt
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts only
- 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp. thinly sliced cilantro, mint, parsley or chives (or a combination)
- In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, honey, soy sauce, and lemon zest. Whisk until the honey is dissolved; set aside.
- In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 4 tsp. of the butter and the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots and 1/2 tsp. salt and stir to coat.
- Cover the pan partially and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally at first and more frequently as the carrots begin to brown, until they are nicely browned on most sides and just barely tender, 15 to 18 minutes.
- Add the scallions, ginger, and garlic and cook, uncovered, stirring gently, until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds.
- Add the juice mixture and stir gently until the liquid reduces a bit and becomes syrupy, another 15 to 20 seconds.
- Remove the pan from the heat, add the remaining 2 tsp. butter and half of the herbs, and toss gently. Season to taste with salt.
- Transfer the carrots to a serving platter, garnish with the remaining herbs, and serve.
Carrots and green beans with dill butter
One of my personal favorite ways to eat carrots is with dill. The powerful herb can sometimes swallow other flavors, but when sprinkled on carrots and green beans, it makes the veggies shine. Get some plain butter from Spring Hill Cheese for this recipe.
- ½ lb. sliced carrots
- ½ lb. fresh green beans
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Place carrots and green beans in a saucepan with enough water to cover.
- Bring to a boil, and cook 10 minutes, or until tender.
- Remove from heat, and drain.
- Gently toss with butter, dill and lemon juice.
- Season with salt and pepper.